Hog futures supported by sharply higher pork values
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were lower, pressured by the day’s higher move in corn. April live cattle closed $.15 lower at $146.77 and June live cattle closed $.10 lower at $142.15. March feeder cattle closed $1.25 lower at $166.20 and April feeder cattle closed $1.02 lower at $171.15.
It was a very quiet Thursday for direct cash cattle trade activity with just a little trade reported, fully steady with the week’s previous business. Asking prices are expected to be restated around $143 plus live in the South and $227-plus dressed in the North. Some cleanup trade is expected before the end of the day Friday. So far this week Southern live deals have been at $142, generally $2 higher than last week’s weighted averages. Northern dressed business at mostly $226, about $2 higher than last week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska.
At the Huss Livestock Market in Nebraska, compared to last week steers over 650 pounds were steady to $3 higher and heifers over 550 pounds were $2 to $3 lower. The USDA says demand was good from the buyers in the crowd. Receipts were up on the week and the year. Feeder supply included 65% steers and 90% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 760 to 799 pounds brought $158 to $164.25 and feeder steers 903 to 935 pounds brought $150 to $156. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 611 to 649 pounds brought $166 to $169 and feeder heifers 819 to 842 pounds brought $147 to $152.10.
Boxed beef closed lower on light demand for solid offerings. Choice closed $.03 lower at $269.59 and Select closed $1.23 lower at $264.85. The Choice/Select spread is $4.74. Estimated cattle slaughter is 122,000 head – down 1,000 on the week and up 13,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures ended the day higher, supported by the sharply higher pork values during the session. April lean hogs closed $2.17 higher at $107.57 and May lean hogs closed $2.17 higher at $111.32.
Closing cash hog prices were not reported on Thursday due to confidentiality. Processors have been relatively aggressive in their procurement efforts recently. The industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs. Demand for US pork on the global market has been strong, which is helping provide price support. But, there are long-term concerns which have been adding pressure to prices. The five-day rolling average for the National Daily Direct is $88.45, the Iowa/Minnesota is $94.23; the Western Corn Belt is $94.44.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $60. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $55 to $66. Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $54 to $60. Boars ranged from $27 to $32 and $13 to $17.
Pork values closed sharply higher – up $10.02 at $116.54. Hams ended the day more than $25 higher. Loins, belies, and picnics were all sharply higher. Butts were firm. Ribs closed lower. Estimated hog slaughter is 465,000 head – down 8,000 on the week and the year. Wednesday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 472,000 head.